CV Writing

Candidate CV Writing Tips

1. Spelling, punctuation and grammatical mistakes tell employers that you don't pay attention to details.

Simply running a spell checker over your resume isn't enough. You could end up with a sentence like this: "Please find the attached resume that highlights all my kills."

In a recent survey 76 percent of executives said that one or two typos in a resume are enough to nix an applicant's chances.

"Reading your resume out loud line by line makes it easier to catch mistakes, It only takes a few minutes but it could make a huge difference."


2. Unless it's specifically requested, including your photo is distracting and unnecessary.


3.Submitting a resume on coloured paper is often a red flag to employers not to hire you.

Although most applications are now sent online, following up with a printed resume on coloured paper is rarely a good idea. The same goes for online applications – do not over complicate a CV with boxes, strange font or coloured backgrounds. Simple Arial 11 is sufficient.

Coloured paper can make it difficult to read the text and are simply irritating, say HR executives. Stick with white or maybe even cream to be safe.


4. Throwing in too much information will confuse and irritate your reader.

Including all your job experiences and additional details with hopes that something will stick is not an effective strategy. Not tailoring your resume to fit the position you're applying for tells the employer you're lazy and it makes it harder for them to figure out where to place you.

Submitting a two-page resume is not necessarily a deal breaker, however, if you're senior-level executive.


5. Automatically including references with your resume won't impress anyone.

You may think you're taking the initiative by including a list of references without being asked for it, but that's not how some recruiters see it.

"Some people may be okay with it, but automatically providing references means you risk providing contacts who may not be the right fit or are not prepared to tailor their responses to your interview."


6. Typing "References available upon request" won't work either.

Several executives agreed that informing your reader that you have references is redundant and silly. Of course, you have references and what are you going to say if someone asks for them, 'no'?


7. Using buzzwords like results-oriented, team player and motivated could kill your chances.

Adjectives like innovative, motivated and dynamic have been used so often that they've lost their impact.
Steer clear of these words whenever possible and focus on quantifying your contributions instead, said several executives.


Top 10 Over-used Buzz Words

  • Extensive experience
  • Innovative
  • Motivated
  • Results-oriented
  • Dynamic
  • Proven track record
  • Team player
  • Fast-paced
  • Problem solver
  • Entrepreneurial


8. Irrelevant hobbies could make you appear strange rather than well-rounded.

"Unless it is a hobby or activity that complements the position, there's really no reason to include what you do on your spare time," says Simmons. "Charities that you support or a membership in a professional association are a better fit."

Other executives said they mainly focus on the applicant's work history or skills, so think twice before listing your interests.


9. Paragraphs that are packed with long sentences are a pain to read.

Breaking up your sentences with bullet points makes it easier for readers to scan your resume. But keep it short.

"Stick to approx 5 bullets per job and try not to exceed 5 sentences per bullet," says Fay at Robert Half.


10. Using an unprofessional email address is childish.

Using a humorous email address full of nouns and adjectives might be fine for your personal correspondence, but not for a job application.

"For a professional email address, just use your name," says Paul of PricewaterHouseCoopers.


11. You'll kick yourself if you forget your contact information.

Don't forget to include a phone number and current address. "You'd be surprised, but sometimes even something as simple as a phone number gets overlooked." says Paul.


12. Nothing sends a resume to the shredder faster than addressing it to the wrong company.

Whether you're sending it via email or snail mail, make sure you address your resume to the right company.

"It all comes down to how much care you take when replying to a job ad,"says Simmons. "Mistakes happen but it's easier for an employer to just set your resume aside."


13. Mistaking responsibilities for accomplishments will greatly reduce the impact of your resume.

Simply listing your responsibilities without illustrating how you have made a difference at a company won't cut it.

"I'm particularly surprised by senior executives who just list their positions and responsibilities without quantifying their accomplishments," says Paul. "If you want attention, explain how you brought value to a company. Don't just tell me that you did your job."


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